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3 Further Information Request Responses
3.1 Further Information Request No. 13.1.1 Question raised
It is the opinion of the Board that the requirements of amending Directive 2014/52/EU apply to the proposed development. In this regard attention is drawn to the provisions of Circular letter PL1/2017 issued by the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government on May 15th, 2017, which states:
Where screening for EIA has commenced prior to 16 May 2017 and is carried out in accordance with Directive 2011/92/EU, but the application for planning permission or other development consent and accompanying EIS, where EIS is determined to be required, is submitted on or after May 2017, the application will fall to be dealt with in accordance with Directive 2014/52/EU.
To comply with these requirements, an EIAR shall be prepared and submitted to the Board in accordance with the requirements and the general format set out in the Directive. Due regard shall be had to its amending provisions in terms of the information to be provided (Article 5) and Annex IV and the environmental factors to be considered by the competent authority in carrying out EIA (Article 3(1) (a) to (e) and Article 3(2)).
The EIAR shall be supported by a schedule highlighting changes to the original EIS submitted and shall also have regard to the matters referred to at 2 to 6 below.
3.1.2 Response to Further Information Request No. 1
On 18 July 2016, Dublin City Council initiated a screening determination process pursuant to Article 4(2) of Directive 2011/92/EU and article 120(1) of the Planning and Development Regulations 2001, as amended, and engaged CAAS Ltd. to carry out Environmental Impact Statement [EIS] Screening in respect of the proposed development of a new civic plaza and ancillary traffic management measures at College Green (the Project). In August 2016, Dublin City Council determined that, although the project was sub-threshold, it was likely to have significant effects on the environment. Accordingly, in November 2016, Dublin City Council caused an EIS to be prepared and, on 18 May 2017, an application for approval of that EIS was submitted to An Bord Pleanla. The local authoritys screening determination was included in the application documentation, at Appendix 1.1 to the EIS.
(Dublin City Council) (Proposed College Green Project - ABP Ref No: 29SJA0039 Response to further information request from An Bord Pleanla on behalf of Dublin CityCouncil)
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Transitional provisions are contained in Directive 2014/52/EU. Firstly, Recital (39) states:
(39) In accordance with the principles of legal certainty and proportionality and in order to ensure that the transition from the existing regime, laid down in Directive 2011/92/EU, to the new regime that will result from the amendments contained in this Directive is as smooth as possible, it is appropriate to lay down transitional measures Accordingly, the related provisions of Directive 2011/92/EU prior to its amendment by this Directive should apply to projects for which the screening procedure has been initiated, the scoping procedure has been initiated, (where scoping was requested by the developer or required by the competent authority) or the environmental impact assessment report is submitted before the time-limit for transposition.
Thereafter, Article 3 of Directive 2014/52/EU provides:
1. Projects in respect of which the determination referred to in Article 4(2) of Directive 2011/92/EU was initiated before 16 May 2017 shall be subject to the obligations referred to in Article 4 of Directive 2011/92/EU prior to its amendment by this Directive.
2. Projects shall be subject to the obligations referred to in Article 3 and Articles 5 to 11 of Directive 2011/92/EU prior to its amendment by this Directive where, before 16 May 2017:
(a) the procedure regarding the opinion referred to in Article 5(2) of Directive 2011/92/EU was initiated; or
(b) the information referred to in Article 5(1) of Directive 2011/92/EU was provided. Article 120 of the 2001 Regulations relates to Sub-threshold EIS and provides as follows:
(1) Where a local authority proposes to carry out a sub-threshold development and the likelihood of significant effects on the environment cannot be excluded by the authority, the authority shall make a determination as to whether the development would be likely to have significant effects on the environment, and where it determines that the development would be likely to have such significant effects it shall prepare, or cause to be prepared, an EIS in respect thereof.
Accordingly, it is the local authority which is the competent authority to make a determination as to whether its own development should be screened in or screened out for the purposes of Environmental Impact Assessment [EIA]. As set out above, in August 2016, Dublin City Council decided to screen in the Project and, as a consequence, caused an EIS to be prepared. Pursuant to Article 120(5) of the 2001 Regulations, Dublin City Council was required to apply to the Board for approval, which it did on 18 May 2017.
In circumstances where the Project is one in respect of which a screening determination was initiated before 16 May 2017, Dublin City Council was of the view that the Project was subject to the provisions of Directive 2011/92/EU, prior to its amendment by Directive 2014/52/EU. In any event, the EIS submitted with the application for approval was prepared in substantial compliance with the provisions of Directive 2014/52/EU.
However, in response to the request from An Bord Pleanla, an Environmental Impact Assessment Report [EIAR] for the Proposed College Green Project has now been prepared in accordance with Directive 2014/52/EU. Three hardcopies and one electronic copy of the EIAR have been submitted to An Bord Pleanla, as required by this RFI. A Schedule of Amendments which documents all of the changes made to the May 2017 EIS is included in Appendix A to this report. It should be noted that other documents that were included in the planning application such as the scheme drawings, stand-alone Report for Appropriate Assessment and photomontages have not been resubmitted as part of this EIAR.
3.2 Further Information Request No. 23.2.1 Question raised
Provide a comprehensive assessment of the impacts of the proposed traffic management measures (direct, indirect and cumulative) taken in conjunction with other traffic management proposals for the city centre on all transport modes. This should make particular reference, but not be limited to the proposals set out in the Dublin City Centre Transport Study, the Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area 2016-2035 and the Greater Dublin Area Cycle Network Plan.
The assessment shall include a description and assessment of how changes in traffic routes for vehicle/changes in traffic flows (other than buses) will impact on individual streets in the vicinity, designated pedestrian routes, on access to commercial premises and residents, on the operational needs of businesses including access to loading/unloading facilities, car parks (both private and public). The assessment shall address the wider city implications of removing traffic from College Green and the adequacy of infrastructure.
Appendix 6.1 should be amended to include a do-nothing scenario where the 2018 traffic flows are modelled on the current road network and traffic management regime. Appendix
6.1 should then indicate the differences between a do-nothing and do-minimum and do- something scenario. Details of the modelling methodology used throughout the EIAR should be clarified.
3.2.2 Response to Further Information Request No. 2- Assessment Methodology
Chapter 6 of the EIAR updates the previously submitted Transport Assessment contained within the May 2017 EIS Chapter 6, incorporating the additional information request responses presented in this section.
The assessment has been carried-out with the support of transport modelling work undertaken by the National Transport Authority (NTA) using the East Regional Model (ERM). The ERM was developed by the NTA for the purposes of the appraisal of potential future transport and land use scenarios.
The full modelling methodology and outputs are contained within the College Green Traffic Management Measures Modelling Report prepared by the NTA, included as Appendix B of this RFI Response Document and Appendix 6.1 of the EIAR.
The ERM was used for the May 2017 EIS, but has been re-run to address particular points raised in the RFI. It is therefore important to note that the modelling results contained in the aforementioned report and referred to in this response, although similar, are not directly comparable with those presented in the May 2017 EIS.
In preparing the updated assessment, as requested by An Bord Pleanla, consideration has been given to three assessment scenarios, being;
A do-nothing scenario;
A do-minimum scenario and
A do-something scenario.
Each of these scenarios are described in the following sections.
The do-nothing scenario
For the purposes of assessment, the do-nothing scenario locally to the College Green area is defined as the traffic management measures which would be in place as envisaged under the Railway Order for Luas Cross City (Ref: 29N.NA0004), and assuming that Luas Cross City is operational.
For clarity, the junction layout currently under construction between College Green, College Street and Graft